Charles R. Saunders is a cutting-edge Baby Boomer, born in Elizabeth,Pa. -- a small town near Pittsburgh. He later lived in Norristown, a suburb of Philadelphia. He was educated at Lincoln University, a historically black institution in Pennsylvania from which he graduated in 1968.
The next year, he moved to Canada, where his life as a writer began and continued amid stints in scholarship, teaching, clerical work and, ultimately journalism. As an avid reader of fantasy and science fiction, he noticed that blacks were, for the most part, either absent from or stereotyped in those genres -- though there were notable exceptions such as Ray Bradbury's Mars story, "Way in The Middle of the Air."
Having developed a keen interest in African history, culture and folklore, he combined those passions with an urge to write fantasy fiction. That merger of interests resulted in the creation of African-based stories and novels featuring Imaro, a brother who could kick Tarzan's ass, and Dossouye, a Black Amazon who could do the same with the help of her Cape buffalo companion, Gbo.
He coined the term "Sword and Soul" to describe this new subgenre of fantasy fiction -- a tribute to the Sword and Sorcery subgenre created by Robert E. Howard back in the 1920s. As other writers began to explore that theme, he became known as "The Father of Sword and Soul."
Now retired from his career in journalism, during which he worked as a copy editor, opinion columnist and editorial writer, he continues to contribute to the subgenre he founded.